With the expansion of the eCommerce industry in India, there have been flourishing opportunities in the supply chain management sector as well. To understand it better, a vibrant supply chain management (SCM) model is crucial for the success of any eCommerce business. For Praveen Sinha, who took Jabong to achieve substantial growth levels as the MD of the startup, “Supply chain management is the backbone of eCommerce and other businesses. If you fail to deliver the product on time to the consumer, you are going to lose the business. The only way you can provide better services off the platform to the consumer is through flawless supply chain management.”
Rising expectations and demands
Today, millions of Indians shop through a range of eCommerce platforms. It is crucial to note that with the rising competition, there has been a rise in consumer expectations and demands. “These rising expectations have brought evolution to the supply chain management for a better user experience. Today, several new models have emerged such as last-mile delivery through local retailers and they are proving to be very helpful for the businesses,” says Praveen Sinha.
However, he also believes that “with complexities, we are also working towards revolutionizing the whole sector. Now, the recent development where we are experimenting towards using drones for commercial purposes is groundbreaking.” Sinha indicated not only the business-specific aspect of using commercial drones in India but also the positive socio-economic impact of it on society.
“I find it incredible that one of the first test operations that our startups are conducting along with various governments across the nation is by delivering essentials to the unreachable pockets of India. In my opinion, this is just revolutionary. Moreover, when the penetration of the internet and smartphones have benefitted a lot both —the people and businesses. Now through these commercial drones, we will be able to deliver our products to the people who are at the bottom of the pyramid,” adds Praveen Sinha.
The use of drones for commercial operations has proven to be of great advantage for supply chain management across various countries. When India is about to allow drones for commercial use, several companies in supply chain management have been leveraging drones to automate and optimise their operations. Not limiting to e-commerce, they have enabled enhanced productivity and profitability across the industries. They have been making a considerable impact in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, construction, etc.
The pandemic and alterations in Supply Chain Management
Recently, Harish Lade, vice president of Supply Chain at Asian Paints, shared his views over how the company became ‘resilient and adaptive’ and turned challenges owing to the pandemic into opportunities. Similarly, several of the leading businesses had to reboot their supply chain management systems to remain profitable. Praveen Sinha calls such changes inevitable and for him, it is what needs to be done amid unprecedented circumstances.
“The pandemic had forced firms to alter their age-old supply chain, management models. Time asks for change and the present time is an extraordinary one. Hence, extraordinary time calls for extraordinary measures. Traditionally, as Asian Paints does, they used to send the products to the warehouse and then to the local retailers. Now, when some of their warehouses were shut, they had to deliver it directly from the factory to the retailers. This is not an easy task to be done, but they had to do it to not only survive but to scale up during the pandemic.”
In India, almost a decade earlier, supply chain management meant just the storage of goods in old warehouses and their delivery to the retailers. Thanks to the new-age firms like Omnipresent and iKargos amongst others that have revolutionised the whole concept. Omnipresent is a leading startup that became one of the first firms to secure government permissions for executing drone deliveries for commercial use. On the other hand, Praveen Sinha-backed iKargos is leveraging cutting-edge technology to optimise national and international logistics to provide a rich experience to the customers.